A Guide to Gävle, Sweden

This Charming Town Is Just 2 Hours North of Stockholm

Utvalnas, Gavle, Sweden
••• Utvalnas, Gavle, Sweden. Getty Images

Gävle, Sweden, is only about 100 miles north of Stockholm which makes Gävle one of the best destinations for day trips from Stockholm. All in all, Gävle is a very romantic and laid-back destination with scenic views and lots of colorful wooden houses. Don't forget to bring your camera.

When it comes to Gävle's natural beauty, the rivers of Gavlean and Testeboan -- and the piers along the water -- bring life to this quaint city on Sweden's east coast.

"By the water” is by far the most common answer when people are asked where they would like to live and play in Gävle.

Things to See and Do in Gävle

  • If the weather is wet or cold, consider some indoor fun and check out the Prison Museum, the County Museum, or the Swedish Railway Museum.
  • Got some money to spend? Gävle also has one of the region's largest shopping centers that includes Gävle City Centre and Valbo Shopping City in Norrland where, naturally, you can find an IKEA. 
  • What if the weather is nice? There are also activities for the young and old at Furuvik Zoo (Furuviksparken) and at Kybacka Moose Park. After all, what is a visit to Sweden without the sight of an actual moose?
  • Or, you can make your way to Bonan Fiskelage, which is a wonderful fishing museum with a lighthouse (lots of steps to climb, optional). Make sure to also enter the lifeguard museum exhibit.
  • As for free activities, just take a stroll around Old Town Gävle with your camera, or sit in one of the cafes in the center of Gävle. The city also has a great deal of public art and sculptures that add character to the streets, squares and parks, e.g. at Boulognerskogen City Park.
  • Evening entertainment is also available. The Gävle Concert Hall and Gävle Theatre provide world famous performers with both large and small productions.

Eating and Drinking in Gävle

Gävle also provides plenty of opportunities to experience good taste -- from intimate, personal restaurants to Sweden's best coffee and chocolate.

In fact, the world-renowned Gevalia coffee plant has been part of the city for more than 150 years. Gevalia (the Latin name for Gävle) is the largest coffee roastery in Scandinavia. If you have an afternoon, take a tour through the plant, learn about the art of making coffee, and bring home some a delicious reminder of your visit to Gävle.

Staying in Gävle

There are several hotels in Gävle, both popular chain names and smaller, locally-owned hotels.

How to Get to Gävle

This city is easy to visit. To get to Gävle, take the E4 going north from Stockholm or get on one of the many trains that include Gävle on their list of stops. There are bus services to Gävle from several cities as well, but they take a lot longer than the trains.

Gävle is a medium-sized town with just over 70,000 residents and has activities both in summer and in winter. There is no offseason here, which makes it a good choice for a day trip from Stockholm at any time of the year.

In early December, the straw-made Gävle Goat (Gävlebocken) is built as a traditional Christmas display in the center of town at Slottstorget each year.